Warmer weather may bring pests to cover crops

Mar 2, 2017

Warmer weather in February means that insect pests are returning sooner than usual. 

For farmers, these early insects might be a problem if certain kinds of green vegetation remain in the field when they arrive looking for winter cover crops. 

Cover crops,  are planted mainly to help promote healthy soil growth and suppress weeds.

Eric Anderson is a Michigan State University Extension field crop educator, he says certain pests may pose a problem once it's time to lay their eggs.

“If we have farmers who have cover crops that have over winter greened up, those types of insects will be looking for fields like that." He says. "If growers have that kind of a weed pressure in their field early on and again with an early warm up those could be an issue”

Anderson continued,

"If insects such as true armyworm or black cutworm arrive with storm fronts from the south in sufficient numbers and find fields where winter annual weeds or overwintered cover crops are dense, they will lay their eggs under the dense foliage.  This could mean higher larval feeding on crops as the spring progresses.”

Anderson believes pests likely won’t be an issue for farmers when it’s time to plant.